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National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Since January marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to review the importance of recognizing the threat of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is the term for a category of progressive ocular diseases that damage the optic nerve, which may be a precursor to irreversible blindness. When uncontrolled, glaucoma often initially results in vision loss in the periphery of the visual field until it eventually results in a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is thought to be the number one reason for avoidable loss of vision and according to estimates, over sixty million individuals around the world have the vision threatening condition.

A significant cause of glaucoma is thought to be increased pressure around the optic nerve referred to as intraocular pressure. The increase in pressure around the eye causes damage to the optic nerve which is responsible for delivering messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. In instances where this pathway is damaged eyesight is impaired. Regrettably, damage to the optic nerve can't be fixed.

The most concerning characteristic of glaucoma is that distinct from other forms of blindness, there are no symptoms until it may be too late.
It is because of the disease's subtle nature glaucoma is described as the "sneak thief of sight." The quandary is is it possible to prevent a condition which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?

Early detection of glaucoma is the key to successful treatment. While glaucoma risk is universal, specific groups have a higher risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma can include those over 45 years of age, anyone having family members who have had glaucoma, individuals with diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or high intraocular pressure.

The best way to detect glaucoma is to find a qualified eye doctor. There are a number of diagnostic eye examinations used to measure damage to the ocular nerves caused by glaucoma. Particularly if you are 45 or older or know that you are at risk, you should schedule a comprehensive eye examination on a yearly basis.

Unfortunately for the most part glaucoma cannot be prevented. Nevertheless the loss of sight caused by damage to the optic nerve may be prevented by a reliable diagnosis and prompt treatment. Don't delay! Contact South Coast Optometry today, for a yearly glaucoma screening.